Happy birthday, Nathalie Sarraute! Here are some quotes from the writer.
“The novel moves like all the arts. It’s transforming itself all the time.”
“The reader has to be creative when he’s reading. He has to try to make the thing alive. A good reader has to do a certain amount of work when he is reading.”
“I’ve always thought that there is no border, no separation, between poetry and prose. Michaux, is he prose or poetry? Or Francis Ponge? It’s written in prose, and yet it’s poetry, because it’s the sensation that is carried across by way of the language.”
“Television… [has] lifted the manufacture of banality out of the sphere of handicraft and placed it in that of a major industry.”
“I think it’s the same duty of all novelists, of all painters, of all musicians, of all people who try to make art move: to look for something they feel authentically, without paying attention to styles, without paying attention to theories: to cling to what they feel authentically, which will force them to find a form which will be theirs, which, consequently will be a living form, and not an academic and limited form.”
“[L]iterature is always trying to show other parts of this immense universe in which we live. It’s endless. I’m sure there will be other searchers and other new writers who will discover new worlds. No one could imagine before Joyce appeared that a new universe would be brought by him, the same with Kafka. I’m sure it will go on.”
“The character, in my point of view, exists only as a deception, a facade; all that counts are the interior movements.”
“Baudelaire said, ‘I will impose my beauty on them.’ He was not seeking to write something that would please the people of his time. He was writing something that he himself felt deep inside and for which he had found the form. Little did it matter if it pleased or not. Stendhal didn’t please. There are many writers who in their time were not at all followed.”
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.